After a meteor falls to earth, an inquisitive 8-year-old boy Hung investigates and soon meets an alien girl from the planet Maika, who has come to earth to search for her lost friend. The alien helps Hung make new friends and heal a broken heart after he has lost his Mother to illness and also a friend because they have moved away. But danger it seems is waiting everywhere. The movie I must be honest has not received the best of welcomes from audiences and critics alike, but one saving grace is the musical score by the accomplished and highly talented composer Christopher Wong. He has written a score that is brimming with proud sounding action cues and literally oozes emotion with so many beguiling and poignant melodies. That purvey fragility and a sense of warmth. The score is mostly symphonic with added support from synths and electronic elements, but it is the richness of the orchestral sounds that attracts and wins over the listener.
It’s a score that works for the movie and in many ways makes it a little more watchable, the music has to it an abundance of qualities when listened to as just stand-alone music. At times there are gentle nods to the style of John Williams, as in the intimate and poignancy of the woodwinds in ET, and the anthem like flourishes from Star Wars, and to a degree one can also hear references to the film score sound of the 1980’s as in the style of Goldsmith and Broughton, with sweeping strings and inventive use of brass and woods throughout.
Although the storyline and overall quality of the movie is not remarkable the composer has somehow managed to fashion a score that is totally consuming and wonderfully engrossing. Released now on all digital platforms by Movie Score Media who have worked many times before with Chris Wong releasing twelve albums to date including Maika. Worth checking out.
I have always maintained that Movie Score Media is one of the very few soundtracks labels in recent years that actually listens to collectors and their customers when it comes to releasing film scores. THE DRIFT is one such case, again MSM have listened and deliberated and then released a score that collectors have actually asked for. This can only be a good and positive thing for both collector and label. THE DRIFT is the first feature film score for composer James Griffiths, and I for one know that it will not be his last. This is a powerful work which for me evokes the scoring process and styles of the 1970,s when composers such as Jerry Goldsmith, Elmer Bernstein and John Williams were just three of the big names within the industry that were producing theme filled works more or less on a daily basis. THE DRIFT soundtrack for me is a delight because it contains real themes that are not just hinted at or subtly purveyed but are fully developed and expanded upon giving us a chance to savour the full and stirring effect of the composers highly addictive and infectious style. There is a liberal use of brass flourishes and strings within the work that convey a sense of danger and menace within many of the cues on the compact disc, but these action fuelled compositions are interspersed and punctuated by compositions that are simple and enchanting with the composer bringing into the equation a low key but extremely pretty and effective piano solo at certain points that brings a calmness and serenity to the proceedings. The darkness and the light of the score can be heard early on in the soundtrack with the OPENING cue beginning with a threatening and rather ominous sounding low brass sound underlined by strings, which after just a few moments transforms into a beguiling and hauntingly beautiful piece performed by a lilting piano solo that is underlined by enchanting ethereal strings which would not be out of place in the end sequence of CLOSE ENCOUNTERS, dark sounding brass bolstered by percussion and electronic support raises its head momentarily to interrupt the almost celestial sounding strings, but these soon fade away and we are returned to the calmness and serene atmosphere created by the strings and delicate piano.
Track number two, HELPLESS MASSACRE is a very different composition, it begins slowly and quietly but the quiet is soon transformed into a dark and powerful piece with the composer introducing an onslaught of percussive elements that are enhanced by ferocious and rasping brass stabs with urgent strings further supporting and adding a sense of menace to the composition, slicing strings punctuate the cue adding a searing and foreboding edge to it. Track number three THE DESCENT too is filled with an urgency created by percussion and again the composer enlists the aid of driving strings and brass to create a fearsome and powerful composition.
Track number four GRAVEYARD is the shortest cue on the release clocking in at just 31 seconds but it is an effecting piece and contains the piano motif that is underlined by darker elements. Track number five, THE APPROACH SUITE is one of my personal favourites from the score it is filled with drama and becomes a powerhouse piece with the composer adding more percussion driving low strings and brass, at times it evoked memories of John Williams IMPERIAL MARCH but just fleetingly giving the cue an air of dread and greater urgency. To analyse the score further I think would be a mistake as I am sure you would like to discover its many attributes for yourself, it is an accomplished and wonderfully written work, it is filled with drama and has to it a commanding and potent atmosphere which is embellished by a number of quieter interludes which are stunningly attractive and haunting. The compact disc also contains music from another score by James Griffith entitled DARKWAVE:EDGE OF THE STORM which is an equally compelling listen, the composer adding choral sounds to heighten the tension and create an apprehensive atmosphere, maybe there are not as many big action pieces within this score, but the soprano voice (shades of Morricone) and addition of voices within the duration are welcome and create a score that is melodious as well as powerful the use of solo violin to brings to the work a more intimate sound that is filled with melancholy and fragility, do not miss this release, highly recommended.
Released in 2015, THE CAIRO DECLARATION is a Chinese war epic, which focuses upon the 1943 meeting between the world leaders Franklin D Roosevelt, Winston Churchill and Chiang Kai-Shek and also has at its core the events of the brutal and ferocious fight during WWll on the Asian front. It is a story that contains much intrigue, spies and counter spies, romance, excitement and heartache. The rich and engrossing musical score is the work of Chinese composer Ye Xiaogang who is well versed in the ways of scoring motion pictures in his homeland as well as writing many works for concert performance, Chad Cannon collaborates with the composer to create a score that harkens back to the silver age of film scoring, it is filled with numerous themes which are hard hitting, adventurous but at the same time contain a highly emotive and poignant aura. Chad Cannon too is no stranger to writing music for film, he has acted as orchestrator for composers such as Conrad Pope, Howard Shore and Alexandre Desplat, working on GODZILLA and two of the HOBBITT movies. The score for THE CAIRO DECLARATION is a powerful one, it contains thundering percussion and martial sounding timpani that acts as a background to menacing sounding brass lines that rasp in and out of the proceedings, strings and piano too play a major role within the score creating a tense and taught atmosphere at times, but then the same instruments change persona and contribute to a lilting and highly emotive and romantic thematic side of the score, the composers fashioning lush and quite lavish set pieces that any Golden age film music composer would have been proud of. There are so many musical colours and textures present within this soundtrack that it is at times hard to believe that it all comes from one score. Released on the ever present Movie Score Media in digital form this is a score that every discerning film music collector should seek out and own. Highly recommended.
FILM AND TELEVISION MUSIC FROM AROUND THE WORLD. WITH MOVIE REVIEWS AND NEWS FROM ALL OVER THE GLOBE.